1979 Back when we were young daft and fearless

We were two up on my Lambretta GP200 without any tools and only a written map taped to the headset to guide us. We were pulling into Kirkby Lonsdale around 7.30pm and the lights stopped working. It was cold and dark and the only protection we were wearing was sheepskin coats, loafers and open face helmets. I didn’t have any mechanical knowledge whatsoever back then, let alone how the electrickery worked. I didn’t know what a stator plate or rectifier looked like and had no chance of tackling spaghetti junction in the headset – so obviously we went to the nearest pub to work out a plan of action!
After a few ciders and a sing-along with the local rugby team we came up with the idea of finding a house with a garage, knocking on the door and asking if we could sleep in their garage. We could then set off for Southport the next day in the daylight. We found a house with a garage, knocked on the door and tried to explain to the guy who was in his seventies that we wanted to sleep in his garage. He kept looking past us, I think he was expecting a gang of scooterists to ride up his drive and that we were the girly advance party checking out his property!
We managed to convince him we were genuine and just two girls on our own who couldn’t travel any further due to the lack of lights on the scooter. He called his wife to the door and told her our predicament and luckily she believed us. They brought us into their house and made us something to eat and drink; we couldn’t believe our luck. They said they wouldn’t hear of us sleeping in the garage and showed us to their spare room. We were even provided with winceyette nighties, how we kept a straight face and stopped ourselves from laughing out loud, I’ve no idea!
The next morning they made us a full cooked breakfast and as we left, we promised we would call in on the way back home to say hello and let them know we’d had a safe journey.
When we eventually arrived at Southport the police had set up a road block and they were not allowing any scooterists into the town. How they were able to do this is beyond me, the only crime we were apparently committing was riding a scooter. There was quite a crowd in front of us but we spied a couple of lads called Gez and Jamie from St Helens who we’d met at the rally in Blackpool the month before. We told them what happened in Kirkby Lonsdale and they couldn’t believe how jammy we were!
After hanging around the road block for a couple of hours it was clear there was no way we were getting into Southport that day on our scooters. Gez asked if me and Diane wanted to go back to St Helens with them, he said we could stay at his parents’ house and they wouldn’t mind. The choices were either ride back to Darlington or have a night out in St Helens. We were young, free and single so the choice was obvious. Thinking we would be safe sleeping at Gez’s parent’s house, we agreed.
When we arrived in St Helens, Gez’s parents couldn’t have made us more welcome. His mam cooked our tea and showed us to our room… how lucky were we. We got showered and changed and were ready for a night out on the town. Gez’s mate Jamie called round and off we went into St Helens. Gez said there was a disco on that night run by a local scooterist so it was decided we’d go there. As we were walking to the do, Gez asked if we’d ever had magic mushrooms before. We’d never even heard of them and asked what they did. They told us they had them quite often at weekends and they made you laugh and see things in a different way. They said they were harmless and we’d have great fun on them. We were a bit wary at first and then thought, what the hell let’s give ’em a go. They took us to a field somewhere in St Helens and we picked these magic mushrooms. Well… I won’t go into too much detail but I have never had an experience like it in my life. We could hardly talk for laughing and everything was hilarious. We eventually made it to the disco and everyone either looked like a giant or a dwarf. The dance floor was growing grass and Diane’s hair kept changing colour. The rest of the night went by so fast, before we knew it the do was over.
We ended up in a nearby park on the swings and our sides were aching with laughing. We eventually got back to Gez’s parents around 4am and I had to ride back to Darlington later that morning. After only around four hours’ sleep we packed up the scooter and headed off home. Gez escorted us to Lancaster and we promised to keep in touch.
I don’t know how I managed to stay awake and ride the scooter as I was mentally and physically knackered. We stopped off at a shop and bought a box of Quality Street for the couple in Kirkby Lonsdale. As promised, we called in to see them and gave them the chocolates. We stayed for a cup of tea and some homemade cake that she’d baked especially for us. If we’d stayed any longer I would have asked if we could have the room and nighties again for the night!
We eventually arrived back into Darlington and I don’t think I could have ridden one more mile. This was a fantastic, memorable weekend, full of experiences that I will never forget. Somehow I don’t think we would ever be so lucky in Kirkby Lonsdale again.
Wendy Karim

Scootering November 2015


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